God’s Wrath Against Mankind
Many consider Romans to be the most theologically-comprehensive book in the Bible. It is certainly not light reading, but provides the Believer with a deep understanding of who God is and who He calls Believers to be. The book of Romans makes it very clear that God is the One who calls the Believer to repentance and salvation and that in and of ourselves there is nothing within us that seeks God. The main idea in Romans 1 is that man has chosen to live in sin. This concept sets the critical foundation required to demonstrate the significant value of grace. Studying, understanding, appreciating, and living by (and under) grace is at the very core of being a Christian.
God’s Righteous Judgment
As we observed in Romans 1, the second chapter continues with the theme of God’s wrath against an evil world. This chapter deals specifically with God’s righteous judgment, but also addresses Jewish legalism and its relationship with the Law. One great challenge that exists among human beings concerns our view of ourselves. Someone said the true test of sanity (and perhaps reality) is congruency between what you believe about yourself, who you really are, and who others view you to be. Most of us would have to admit to some level of insanity! Unfortunately, human tendency is to believe that we “bring something to the game.” When it comes to God’s holiness, we bring nothing – zero, zip, nada.
Man’s Unrighteousness, God’s Faithfulness
Romans 1 and 2 are very clear regarding God’s stance against sin and man’s general unworthiness in comparison to a perfect God. Up to this point in the book of Romans there has been no discussion on God’s redemptive plan for mankind. However, in Romans 3 we see God’s righteous declaration based on the work of Jesus on the Cross. Only when we begin to understand man’s general unworthiness (Romans 3:10-18) can we start to appreciate what God has done for those of us who know him. As Paul states in verse 18: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Abraham Justified by Faith
While the first three chapters of Romans deal primarily with sin, Romans 4 deals specifically with justification. Justification is the first form of salvation that will be discussed in this series. Justification is completely a work of God. Romans 4 tells us that Abraham was justified by faith. At the heart of this discussion concerns whether or not the faith that Abraham had was a result of his doing, or the work of God. In this lesson we discuss that the faith that Abraham was not of his own doing, but his faith was a gift from God. Before faith takes root, God has a priori invoked the following events (or actions) before faith ever comes on the scene in the life of a Believer: grace, foreknowledge, predestination, and calling. Faith is evidence of God’s work in the life of a Believer.
Peace with God through Jesus
This lesson is a continuation of the concepts discussed in Lesson #4 where the principle idea concerned the role of faith in justification and whether or not that faith is something that initiates from within the Believer, or rather it is something that comes from God. Because of the worthiness of this subject, and the critical role it plays in explaining the mechanics of salvation, this lesson continues to address the fact that faith is a gift from God. While this subject is important for the new Believer in relation to justification, it is equally-important for the growing and mature Believer when we learn that our faith can grow to help us in being sanctified to become more like Christ (cf. Hebrews 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 10:15).
Victory over Sin as Slaves to God
In this lesson we move from discussing justification as the basis for our salvation, to focusing on sanctification. By definition justification is being saved from the penalty of sin; whereas, sanctification concerns being saved from the power of sin. God’s desire is that as Believers we have victory over sin. Because God chose us to be His as demonstrated through justification, we are in effect His slaves. Those who are not Believers are slaves to sin and in effect have a different master. The primary concept presented in Romans 6 is that as Believers, we must be cognizant of the fact that as slaves to God (Romans 6:22), our expected response is obedience. In fact, if we are to truly admit that we understand the great price paid by Christ on the Cross for our justification, the only proper response is obedience. Our obedience is the true evidence of sanctification.
Struggling with Sin
Most of us would have to admit that we struggle with sin. Unfortunately, it is a way of life since The Fall as recorded in Genesis 3. In Romans 7 Paul goes to great lengths to communicate to us that only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we have victory over sin. To make matters worse, the Law only demonstrates the futility in our trying to be perfect apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. For Believers, holiness and obedience are volitional (i.e. we have a choice in the matter). Just as the Law has neither the power nor the ability to justify us, neither does it have the power to sanctify us. As Jesus said, I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5, NIV).
Life through the Spirit
For the Believer Romans 8 is an extremely powerful chapter. In this chapter we learn that before time began God set in motion the plan to call us as His children and that through the death of Christ, He did something for us that we could never do for ourselves. Although the Bible is very clear about our sinfulness and God’s holiness, texts such as Romans 8:28-33 leave no doubt that our salvation (i.e. justification) is a complete work of God. The great power in this realization is that for those of us who know Christ as Lord, we can rest assured that our salvation is secure forever (Romans 8:38-39) and that we are free to live for Him under the grace afforded us by Christ’s work on the Cross. Christ never intended that we should question our eternal security or that we should chain our salvation to the obedience of the Law.
God’s Sovereign Choice of Israel
In a very logical fashion, Paul presents Romans 9-11 to validate the prior messages of Romans 1-8. Paul had two primary purposes in Romans 9. First and foremost, it was to help readers understand God’s Sovereign choice of Israel and that despite their rejection of Jesus as Messiah, God was not finished with them. The second was to validate to those who doubt, that God continues to work through election. Just as He called Israel, not because of her might or because of anything she had done, Believers are called because of His grace. His people are chosen today as those called to bring glory to His name by being conformed to the likeness of Christ.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events;
small minds discuss people.